Digital Life Vests: How Cultural Heritage Institutions can Lend a Hand in Preserving Podcasts

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Every day, indie podcasters are creating and publishing works reflecting their unique perspectives, backgrounds, stories, and communities. Usually working with small or even no budget or outside of a regular day job, indie podcasters often rely on third-party platforms to save their work, which in some cases has resulted in catastrophic digital file loss. Preserve This Podcast (PTP) was a two-year Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant-funded project whose goal was to not only teach a personal digital preservation curriculum tailored to podcasters, but also raise awareness over the ephemeral nature of the world wide web and the precariousness of commercial and proprietary platforms.

This two-part webinar will introduce participants to podcasting, a medium defined by a complex "systems ecosystem" consisting of digital audio files (namely WAVs and MP3s), distribution mechanisms (RSS feeds) and platforms providing services to both podcasters and listeners. In part one of the webinar, PTP will step through the curriculum devised by the PTP team, briefly go over the history of the development of podcast technology, and "prove" that some of the earliest podcasts have, in fact, disappeared. Part two will focus on RSS technology and how PTP devised their own homegrown mechanism to preserve their own podcast and website beyond their grant funding. We will end with providing some examples of current institutional podcast collecting efforts, and discuss how participants might envision incorporating elements of the PTP curriculum into what they do at their respective GLAM institution or organization.

Participants are encouraged to download and review the PTP zine, and listen to some or all of the PTP episodes, prior to attending the workshop. The zine can be read online here, and podcast can be listened to here.


Mary Kidd
Mary Kidd (@kiddarchivist) is an archivist and illustrator. By day, she works for New York Public Library's Preservation and Special Collections Processing Division. She enjoys creating drawings, zines, gifs, and other artful tidbits to make preservation and archiving, and the technology that supports it, accessible, approachable and memorable.

Sarah Nguyen
Sarah Nguyen (@snewyuen) is the Project Coordinator of Preserve This Podcast. She is an advocate for open, accessible, and secure technologies through a couple gigs during her studies as a Master of Library and Information Science candidate at the University of Washington: Assistant Research Scientist for NYU Libraries and archivist for the Dance Heritage Coalition. Offline, she can be found riding a Cannondale mtb or practicing movement through dance.

Academic library: 2 year; Academic library: 4 year and graduate; Archives; Museum; Public library; Special collections
Time: All live online classes are in Eastern time.

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